Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Imagining the People's Community Market Experience

Imagine having an experience at a grocery store that goes something like this...

When you reach the check out counter a clerk tells you that you can sign up for a rewards card and earn points every time you shop, take a class, attend an event, bring in a new customer, contribute an idea or progress toward a health related goal. You can use the points you earn to get a discount on a grocery bill, a ticket to an event, a monthly bus pass or a special gift like new cookware. In order to sign up for the rewards card you have to participate in a 15-minute consultation with a Nutritionist. To thank you for spending the time in the consultation you'll be given extra points right away.

During the consultation the Nutritionist measures you height, weight, blood pressure, etc. The Nutritionist asks you questions about your health, as well as that of your family. Using this information, the Nutritionist gives you some recommendations to improve or maintain your health, like reducing your sodium or sugar intake or eating more daily servings of fresh fruits and vegetables. The nutritionist also works with you to set up a couple of health related goals that you want to work toward over the next year. After finishing the consultation you receive your new rewards card and are credited points for your shopping and for the consultation. A couple of days later you receive a summary of the results of your consultation including the recommendations that were made and the goals that you set up.

The next time you come into the store you swipe your rewards card at the check out counter and a couple of cool things happen. First, you get some extra points for having more fruits and vegetables in your basket then you had on your previous shopping trip. Second, your receipt has a number of coupons, recipes and tips printed on the back that match perfectly with your personal goals. The receipt also features a graph that shows you the kinds of products you’ve been buying and the changes that have taken place in the way you shop.

As you are leaving you see a flier for a jazz concert for the next evening in the outdoor portion of the store called the "Front Porch". You decide to come to the concert with your partner to have dinner and enjoy the music. When you arrive for the concert, an employee swipes your rewards card and you receive points just for coming to the show.

On another day when you come into the store you decide that you want to try a new kind of product. But when you get to that section of the store you see that there are five different brands for that product and you’re not really sure which one is best for you given the recommendations that the Nutritionist made. So you ask an employee which product they think would be best for you to get. The employee runs your rewards card through a device that immediately shows your personal profile with your health recommendations and goals. The employee tells you, based on the information in your profile, which particular brand of the product would be best for you. You’re thrilled to be able to get such thorough help with your decision. You also know that you’ll earn more points for trying this new product that matches your health goals.

Now fast forward about a year. You have taken a number of cooking classes and health workshops, all for which you have received more points.  You have cashed in on your points as well, using some of your points for a discount on a big grocery bill and some to get a new cast iron pot for free. Your receipts have been giving you updates on your progress toward your goals so you have a general sense of how you’ve been progressing. Then you receive a Personal Annual Report in the mail that summarizes your entire year of shopping, taking classes, coming to events, earning points and, most importantly, progressing against your goals. The report shows what kinds of products you tended to buy one year ago, what kinds of products you tend to buy now and what the changes have been. For example, packaged snack foods used to account for 25% of your basket, but now only account for 16% of your basket. And the amount of fruits and vegetables you buy almost doubled over the same period of time! To celebrate these accomplishments the report includes tickets to an upcoming family-style dinner and concert event. The report also tells you about a goal where you could still make some progress and includes a few coupons and recipes to support you trying new products related to that goal. Finally, the report reminds you that it’s time for your annual 15-minute consultation to update your information and to set new goals for the next year. 

Imagine having this kind of an experience in your food shopping. Where your health aspirations are supported by a team of knowledgeable and helpful people at your community grocery store. Where you are not only supported for working toward your health goals, but are actually rewarded in ways that save you real money and provide you with real things and experiences. Where you have access to information that helps you make decisions and to easily understand the progress you’re making in achieving greater health and wellness. And where your social interests and your community are connected to the ways that you’re improving your health and enjoying your life. These are just a few examples of the ideas that People’s Community Market is imagining for its customers and the ways that People’s Community Market can be “More Than a Grocery”. Please keep imagining with us. Soon it will be a reality.